Foot Treatment at TLM
The Human Foot
The human foot is made up of 26 bones (bones in both feet combine to make up approximately a quarter of all the bones in our bodies), 33 joints, and more than a hundred muscles, ligaments, and tendons. In addition, there are about 8000 nerves in our feet. This makes our feet one of the most complex and intricate mechanical structures in our bodies.
The complexity and intricacies of our feet attest to their importance; as the lowermost point of the leg and the point of contact between our bodies and the ground. Our feet are designed to allow us to stand and walk on two, and perform all sorts of upright movements. The curved arches of our feet, in particular, allow them to support the weight of the body while bearing the least amount of stress when we are standing.
However, despite their importance, our feet is frequently overlooked and we neglect to take good care of them. Considering the stress our feet is constantly under — the average person takes approximately 8000 to 10,000 steps every single day — it is no wonder that foot pain is such a common ailment that many face today.
Take Immediate Action
Most of us have experienced foot pain briefly at some point in our lives; our feet feel painful after walking or standing for a long time. Usually, the pain goes away after resting our feet. However, this does not mean that foot pain should be dismissed as a minor inconvenience that will go away naturally. The pain might become chronic if you continue to subject your feet to too much stress. Luckily, there are many simple things you can do to relieve the pressure on your feet. For example, stretching exercises and switching to a comfortable pair of shoes will go a long way towards alleviating foot pain.
If you have been experiencing constant or recurring foot pain over a prolonged period of time (approximately more than 3 months), you should seek professional help as soon as possible. This is especially so if you can observe visible deformities of your feet. Common ailments of the feet include:
TLM offers orthotic treatments for the above listed conditions as well as other musculoskeletal conditions that cause foot pain or foot deformities. If you suspect you have a foot problem, schedule an appointment with our centre to see how we can help you.
Common Foot Conditions
Hallux Valgus (Bunion) Treatment,
Hammertoes Treatment &
Overlapping Toes Treatment
Hallux valgus, commonly referred to as bunion, is a bony bump that forms on the base of your big toe joint. It occurs when metatarsal bones in the forefoot shifts out of position and is frequently accompanied by hammertoes, abnormal bending of other toes, and overlapping toes in severe cases.
Wearing tight fitting shoes or pointed high heel shoes are believed to be related to the development of this condition.
Fig 1. Big toe slants inwards to form a bony lump at the inner side of the foot. Other toes start to bend upwards over time and the second toe overlaps the big toe after an extended period of time.
Fig 2. Realigning the bones back to their original positions is key to treating bunion, hammertoes and overlapping toes.
Swollen Foot & Ankle Treatment
There are many reasons that can cause our feet to swell, from a sprained ankle, to lymphedema, to kidney disease. If the swelling does not go away or is recurring, it might be a symptom of an underlying medical condition and you should seek medical assistance immediately.
If you are not suffering from any underlying medical conditions, the swelling is most likely caused by a misalignment of your ankle joint that is leading to a build-up of unwanted fluids in your feet and ankle. An orthotic treatment can correct the misalignment to restore the flow of blood, nutrients and waste material to and from your feet to reduce swelling.
If you are suffering from an underlying medical conditions, an orthotic treatment can help alleviate the swelling by boosting your circulatory and lymphatic system so as to recover and preserve your mobility.
Fig 3. Besides obvious enlargement of skin and muscles, you can check for edema (water retention) by pressing on the affected area to see if it leaves an indentation.
Fig 4. An orthotic treatment will quickly resolve the swelling by realigning your feet and ankle to restore and boost circulation.
Varicose Veins Treatment
Varicose veins are enlarged, swollen, and twisting veins that appears blue or dark purple on the skin. This could be caused by a misalignment of your body structure. The misalignment increases the pressure of the affected veins. The valves of your veins could not regulate the flow of blood, causing blood to flow in the wrong direction or to pool, thus enlarging the veins. An orthotic treatment realigns your body structure, thus alleviating pressure on the veins, increase blood flow and reduces the visibility of enlarged and swollen veins.
Fig 5. While varicose veins do not lead to serious complications in the long term,
many find them unsightly and wish to correct them.
Fig 6. An orthotic treatment is one way to improve circulation, minimise the appearance of varicose veins without medication or surgery.
Plantar Fasciitis Treatment
If you constantly feel an intense stabbing pain near your heel(s), you might be suffering from plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the fibrous tissues along the bottom of your feet connecting the heels to the toes (the plantar fascia).
Plantar fasciitis can result from extreme stress and tension on the fascia due to uneven pressure on your feet. Over an extended period of time, the extreme stress and tension will inflame the fascia, leading to heel pain. Changing the way you walk to relieve the pain may lead to other foot, knee, hip or back problems.
Many people mistaken plantar fasciitis as heel spur since both causes pain near the heel(s). Seeing a specialist or taking a X-Ray will help to determine the correct diagnosis of heel pain.
The intensity of heel pain will increase if you have been suffering from plantar fasciitis for a long time. An orthotic treatment will correct your foot structure and redistributes pressure evenly across the foot. This allows the inflamed fascia to heal and prevents your plantar fascia from becoming inflamed again in the future.
Inflammation of the plantar fascia causes a stabbing pain near the heel.
Relieving pressure from the plantar fascia and allowing it to heal will terminate the inflammatory response.
Heel Spur Treatment
& Sesamoiditis Treatment
Two other conditions that cause foot pain are heel spurs and sesamoiditis.
Heel spurs are calcium deposits that form on the underside of your heel. They are usually caused by repeated strain to the muscles and ligaments at the heel, especially the plantar fascia, due to high pressure at your heel(s). As such, they are frequently associated with plantar fasciitis. Heel spurs cannot be removed except by surgery. However, orthotic treatment can correct your foot structure to redistribute the pressure at your heel(s), relieving heel pain and preventing heel spur from growing.
Sesamoiditis refers to the inflammation of the tendons attached to the sesamoids, a special class of bones in your body. There are two sesamoids at the bottom of your feet near your big toe which is usually the cause of sesamoiditis. You may be suffering from seasmoiditis if you feel a dull pain near the ball of your foot. Orthotic treatment can relieve pressure and stop the inflammatory response.
Bone growth under the bottom of the heel bone as seen from an x-ray. It causes pain when it irritates surrounding muscles and nerves.
Sesamoiditis develops near the base of your big toe, causing a dull pain at the ball of your feet.
Ankle Pronation (Flat Foot) Treatment
& Ankle Supination (High Arch) Treatment
Ankle pronation occurs when the ankle tilts inwards, putting more weight on the inner side of the foot. Ankle supination occurs when the ankle tilts outwards, putting more weight on the outer side of the foot.
While pronation and supination are natural side-to-side movements of the feet when a person walks and runs, excessive pronation and supination places more stress on the inner or outer side of the foot respectively.
You might be walking with excessive pronation or supination if you can observe your feet leaning on one side when you are standing. Excessive pronation could lead to the appearance of flatfoot and excessive supination could lead to the appearance of high arch.
Pronation and supination may increase the risk of injuries, such as ankle sprain when walking, running or exercising due to instability in the foot. Over time, other foot, knee or back problems could arise as well, such as bunion, knee osteoarthritis (bow legs, knock knees), back pain, scoliosis, shoulder pain or neck pain.
Orthotics can help to reduce excessive pronation and supination by correcting your foot and ankle structure and prevent the development of other musculoskeletal system illnesses.
When observed from the back, the ankles are pronated if the feet are leaning heavily on the inner side.
When observed from the back, the ankles are supinated if the feet are leaning heavily on the outer side.
Additional support and bracing from orthotics can can help to straighten the ankle and keep it in the correct position.
As you can see from the examples above, most foot conditions are caused by improper foot structure or uneven pressure on the feet. It is crucial to wear fitting shoes and insoles that provide proper support and cushioning. Considering the fact that everyone has a slightly different foot shape, most mass-manufactured shoes simply do not provide the adequate support required. If you have a hard time finding a pair of fitting shoes or your condition does not improve even when you are wearing a pair of fitting shoes, it is time to seek professional help.
At TLM, our orthotic insoles and footwear are medical braces made individually to treat each patient's condition(s).
All orthotic insoles and footwear are made in house and we oversee the entire manufacturing process so that you are always in the capable hands of our orthotist. Your orthotic insoles and footwear are designed to "push" at the right places of your feet to correct foot structure and alignment to treat your foot problems.
This is achieved by channeling ground reaction force (the force exerted by the ground on a body in contact with it) to act on the feet and lower body, initiating a self-correcting process as the body responds to the force.
the foot molds above illustrate the actual treatment results for one of our patients. After a few months of treatment, foot problems suffered by the patient have improved significantly. However, duration of treatment varies according to each patient's condition(s) and severity.